tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC October 11, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PDT
giuliani to manufacture dirt on the president's political opponents and arrested trying to flee the country. >> maybe i'll ask rudy to say a few words. >> tonight what we know about the two men. is rudy giuliani now under investigation? and what did the president know and when did he know it? >> what conversations have you head with lev parnas and igor fruman? >> i don't know those gentlemen. >> you were in pictures with them. >> and hillary clinton's campaign manager john podesta what he makes the push to impeach trump.
and as republicans stews over defecks the new call from conservative lawyers who say a speedy impeachment inquiry is necessary. when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. the first arrests of the impeachment era happened today and washington, d.c. airport attempting to leave the country with one way tickets get this only hours after they lunched with their business associate and lawyer rudy giuliani. let me take a minute to explain these two suspects who probably are not that familiar with you. they've been floating around the coverage of the ukraine scandal. they've been close to rudy giuliani from the beginning. they're american citizens, naturalized. they're described in the federal indictment and reporting as businessmen, although to be honest their current business is sort of unclear. they've been working hand in hand tightly with rudy giuliani on the ukraine operations since the very beginning. they've been setting up meetings in ukraine, acting as intermediaries abroad, meeting
with people in the trump circle. they have been a crucial part of the scheme by rudy giuliani and president trump to apply maximal pressure to the ukrainian government to manufacture dirt on the president's political rival to interfere in the next election so that trump could win the next election. they've been part of this impeachable act from the beginning. they've been so integral to it that shortly after the indictment was reported they have subpoenaed by the house committees leading the impeachment investigation. in fact, today was the day this guy on the left, not the one with the saucily unbuttoned shirt, the guy dressed a little more modestly, was supposed to give a deposition before those committees. and the guy with the open shirt was supposed to do that tomorrow. and yes that is don junior on the other side of the table with those two gentlemen. a few days ago the president's former lawyer and now john dowd wrote a letter to congress in the most professional font
comic sans explaining that they couldn't appear, and i'm quoting here, they assisted mr. giuliani in connection with his representation of president trump. in other words, their one big happy legal team. and i'm quoting their own lawyer here, i'm not making this up. he said it. they assisted mr. giuliani in connection with his representation of president trump. so you can't talk to them, congress, sorry. that was a week ago. "the wall street journal" reports those two gentlemen had lunch with giuliani himself at the trump international hotel in washington on wednesday. that would be yesterday, giuliani and the two men having lunch. and we know from the u.s. attorney hours later, that's hours after lunch with giuliani at the trump hotel parnas and
fruman were a refsed at a d.c. international airport as they were about to board a one way flight. they're trying to have foreign nationals -- here's how jeffrey berman, a trump appointee explained it. as alleged in the indictment, the defendants broke the law to gain political influence they sought political influence not only to advance their own financial interests but to advance the political interests of at least one foreign official, a ukrainian government official who sought the dismissal of the u.s. ambassador to ukraine. >> they were advocate frg the dismissal of the u.s. ambassador to ukraine. that sure sounds familiar. oh, right, it's because the journal reported last week that trump himself ordered that u.s. ambassador to ukraine removed after complaints from giuliani
and, quote, others. take a listen to how the president responded today when asked about communications with men who according to their own lawyer was part of the president's legal team. >> what conversations have you had with lev parnas and igor fruman. fruman? >> i don't know those gentlemen. it's possible i have a picture with them because i have a picture with everybody. i don't know them. i don't know what they do. but i don't know maybe they were clients of rudy. you'd have to ask rudy. i just don't know. >> it's true. the president isn't going to remember everyone who takes a picture with them and his vice president and personal attorney and his son. but he would remember members of his legal team who had dinner with him personally just last spring right before they donated to his super pac. just to keep track of all this, two men from the former ussr who told congress they were part of the president's legal team and were acting with rudy giuliani
to push the impeachment scandal were rested last night while attempting to leave the country with one-way tickets. joining me now are two people who know the ins and outs of this story who earlier today broke the story about the arrest. and reported back in july parnas and fruman privately lobbied ukraine to bid to help president trump win in 2020. can you take us through what this indictment alleges about what the scheme these gentlemen were involved in was. >> sure, so it's actually a pretty complicated set of allegations. there are basically two sets of allegations. one has very little to do with the dealings with ukraine and with giuliani. it has to do with a marijuana business they were trying to get off the ground in nevada. and then allegedly getting money from a russian national to benefit this business, making donations to try to grease the
wheels to get this business off the ground. the other set of allegations squarely has to do with the work with giuliani. those allegations are that they were making large donations to a pro-trump super pac. and part of that effort was to get more access to do what a ukrainian government official wanted them to do was get a u.s. ambassador to ukraine pushed out. >> tlsh there are hundreds of thousands of dollars and tons of donations to all kinds of republicans coming from these individuals, some of which are being returned. one of the people is a congressman michael sala who gets a bunch of money from them. we know it's pete sessions who lost in 2018 but he wrote a letter trying to get rid of the ukrainian ambassador. >> the very day, yeah, chris, they met with then congressman
sessions and they during the course of that conversation we interviewed both the congressmen and obviously we spent a lot of time with parnas. they both made it very clear marie yovanovitch was the center of their conversation, and they weren't happy with her and she was standing in the way of president trump and a lot of policies there and that she wasn't loyal to the president. and so that day he fired off a letter to then secretary mike pompeo basically just saying she needs to go, you should consider removing her from her position. >> he writes a letter, the president tweets about her, and eventually she was removed. she seemed an obstacle to the scheme that was being cooked up. what is the deal with these two?
how do they get connected in any way, shape, or form to what essentially appears to be the inner circle of the president's attorney if not the president himself? >> that part is still a little unclear to us. but from what we know, they started making a lot of big campaign donations in 2018 and then started talking to mr. giuliani about his concerns about what ukraine had been up to in the 2016 election, starts introducing him to people in ukraine and seems to be delivering what mr. giuliani wants. and so ends up in his inner circle. >> michael, you guys were on these two from the jump back in the summer. what sort of tipped you off these were key players in this entire operation? >> you know, it actually started with one of our reporters, colleagues from the organized crime reporting project who
spotted them at a hookah bar basically with some other friends. and it was just on the eve of the inauguration of president zelensky. and we kind of worked backward from there. who are these characters? what have they been doing swirling around ukraine and essentially working as operatives for rudy giuliani? and we were -- and in the course of that investigation we ended up interviewing mr. parnas several times and he was quite open about the work they were doing setting up meetings with mr. giuliani, with ukraine prosecutors and pushing very hard for information on the bidens and trying to get them to basically open up an investigation into joe biden and his son hunter and also to look into the origins of the release of the black ledger, which was the information that largely told people the millions of dollars that paul manafort had
taken. and that was really the origins of that work we did. >> just to clarify the hookah bar was it in kiev? >> it was in kiev. it was a hookah bar on the balcony of the hilton hotel there. >> amazing. all right, great reporting both of you. thank you both. >> thank you. >> joining me now one of the members of congress leading the impeachment investigation into president trump democratic congressman jamie raskin of maryland. member of both the house oversight and judiciary committees. first, your reaction to witnesses that the investigative committees have called being nabbed in an airport with one way tickets to vienna? >> well, it's starting to feel more and more like watergate i think to the people who remember watergate except it's kind of an upside down watergate because these kind of characters were found first during the watergate break in and then they worked their way up to the president.
here the president started or was discovered first because of the fateful phone call where he kind of clinched the shakedown deal against president zelensky. but what's coming out now is the whole team behind the shakedown operation and all of giuliani's people who were engaged in this very insidious shadowy campaign in ukraine to do a number of different political duties and execute a number of political schemes for the president. >> we found out today so these guys had ticket to vienna and had lunch with rudy giuliani. and rudy giuliani told the atlantic he was flying to vienna just coincidently. do you want to know more? are you going to get to talk to these people to your investigation into it and whether sdny does? >> i haven't spoken to anybody about this but i am personally fascinated about what they were
doing. were they just trying to escape, were they trying to leave the country? did they understand the heat was drawing in on them? were they continuing to conduct other schemes on behalf of giuliani and the president? all these things are fascinating but the critical thing going on politically here, chris, is that america has woken up to the corrupt and lawless character of the white house. and everybody understands the basic contours of the ukrainian episode. the president of the united states engaged in a shakedown of a vulnerable american ally and partner in president zelensky in order to obtain political dirt on his political opponent back home. nobody's ever seen anything like it. and that shake down is complete sellout of american values and a sellout of our election. and what we're seeing from this illegal funneling of money from abroad through a campaign
finance scheme that these guys were involved in is that they do not have respect for american elections. you know, i disagree with everything jim jordan says but i respect his right to be involved in our elections. it's not true of russian spies and ukrainian researchers and chinese operatives and the united arab emirates and the saudis and all these other people, they're trying to get involved in our election? why do they need to be bringing in all this power and money from abroad to interfere with this election? we're talking about this election in 2020. it's just an outrage and scandal after what they did to us in 2016. >> final question about marie yovanovitch who is pivotal to this, had been the ambassador to ukraine. the target of sort of smears from rudy giuliani with the packet of files sent to mike pompeo, the target of these men
to the extent they were giving donations to meeting with a congressman she clearly becomes a target of rudy giuliani, don jr. and these indicted gentlemen and a whole lot of other people. she is supposed to testify tomorrow or be deposed i suppose tomorrow. is it your understanding she's going to be there? >> i have no reason to think she won't be there tomorrow. i've been out making some speeches for the last several hours so i don't know there have been any changes in these developments relating to her appearance. but i will say there was clearly a campaign of sabotage directed at her. anybody who basically wasn't going to play ball and subordinate their professional commitment to the president was going to be targeted by them. and they did it. but we've got to remember this, chris, this isn't exactly
an agatha christie mystery at this point. we know what happened. we're trying to fill in -- >> basically -- >> we're just filling in the details at this point. >> the crime was admitted to in the first page of this. we're just in flashback mode of how did we actually get there. okay, there's more breaking news at this hour. two big stories coming up. nbc news is now reporting exclusively tonight one of the former trump administration official slated to testify next week is going to reveal rudy giuliani and eu ambassador gordon sondland circumvented the national security council and white house process to pursue a shadow policy on ukraine. and this comes as "the washington post" is reporting that least four national security officials raised alarms about the trump administration's attempts to pressure ukraine for political purposes both after and before the infamous july 25th call between presidents trump and zelensky. and that is where we begin tonight with greg miller who broke this story.
he joins me by phone. greg, what have you learned? >> well, what we've learned is, you know, i think it's significant that there were alarms being raised inside official white house channels well before the whistle-blower complaint is even submitted to the intelligence committee inspector general. starting in july, early july, even before the july 25th call you just described as infamous, you know, there are people going to the national security council's top lawyer expressing alarm and concern about what is happening on ukraine, citing a series of developments over the preceding months that made them worry about what trump was doing and his attempts to extract political ammunition from kiev. >> just to be clear, when you say white house officials here, and i know you don't want to out your sources and i respect that, but are we talking about people
hired by the president, that work for the president? >> i think you're going to find there's a combination here. there are stories that at least four -- i think that's a conservative estimate of the number of people involved here and trying to raise these issues internally. and so i think that there are people who worked directly for and interact daily with the president. and then there are others who are -- who are a little bit farther down the food chain. there's an important quote in our story from one of the officials we talked to who say these people aren't just swamped, this is not a deep state. these are people who have a conscience, and they're really concerned and fearful this is not how the government should run. >> the idea they're worried about the phone call before the phone call happens, that there's this concern that the president is essentially going to do something that abuses his power, that is corrupt, that is possibly criminal, which is part
of what the whistle-blower complaint is about. your reporting indicates people were worried about the phone call for that reason. >> this phone call is of particular worry because it raises issues of election interference and people are highly sensitive to that. people coming from intelligence agencies to work at the national security council lived through 2016 and they remember that. this is a sore spot. they don't want this to happen again. this wasn't just confined to this one subject or country. there were people at the white house trying to head off trump calls with other world leaders because they were constantly worried about the risk. what was he going to say? was was he going to ask for and promise and was it going to be close to what u.s. national security interests were? >> and then the chain of events that happens afterwards was also striking to me. and there is no whistle-blower process in the white house. there's nothing to be done.
they go to the lawyer for the nsc, the national security council. who is that individual and what does he do with it? >> so the lawyer for the national security council is someone named john isenberg, he's been there since the beginning of the administration and he is a respected attorney and a veteran at the justice department. but as you mentioned, there is no equivalent of an inspector general at the white house. there is some confusion among people where are we supposed to go with this, and i think that's partly what accounts for some of these people turning outside the walls of the white house and turning to this cia officer who then collects all this material for a whistle-blower complaint. isenberg, one of our big questions is what does he do? the white house wasn't able to respond what he did when he handled this stuff? but we know that the whistle-blower complaint itself and that the white house lawyers
were the ones who directed that the record of that call be quickly stuffed into a highly classified computer network out of sight. >> greg miller, great reporting and thank you for joining us on such short notice. turning now to nbc news national political reporter, josh letterman, the exclusive report about what a former national security official intends to tell congress next week. josh, what have you learned? >> earlier today, chris, we learned fiona hill until recently was the top russia and europe official at the white house planned to testify before congress next week. now we're learning about what she plans to say. according to a source that's familiar with her testimony, fiona hill plans to testify that ambassador gordon sondland and rudy giuliani essentially pulled an end run around the normal white house policymaking process on ukraine and were running a shadow foreign policy that circumvented security official
john bolton and basically they had a direct line into trump to do a ukraine policy that differed from the normal process that's used across the government to come up with policy on foreign relations. >> hill had been there i think from the very beginning, right? she's a russia expert. she left in the summer, is that right? >> she started winding down her role there over the summer. she was no longer in the top russia job on the day that trump had that now infamous call with president zelensky, but she was up right until those final days, so she would have had full information of all the events that would have led up to this phone call. >> it strikes me your story and greg miller's story are of a piece. what we're seeing coming into focus is a bunch of white house officials were fairly high up who are anxious to tell people whether or not in this case testimony that this was not their policy. >> exactly. there were concerns we now know
from top levels of the white house that what these outside folks of rudy giuliani and ambassador sondland and others were doing was really going around the way things are supposed to be done to have a cohesive foreign policy. and it's also important for another reason, chris, which is the fact that fiona hill is going to testify next week. if that goes through as planned is really a key test whether congress is going to be able to obtain testimony from former officials. we know there's a threat. the white house could try to assert executive privilege over these officials. that's a pretty murky area legally when it comes to former officials who are now private citizens. if this all goes forward as planned we should expect to see congress get other officials potentially including john bolton, others to work for him to tell congress and those who work for him as well. >> the people involved have sort of deferred to it as if they had
no choice, but it's not clear to me that's the case. >> right, for current officials they work for the government so it's essentially their employer instructing them to do something. for former officials it's not totally clear. we know this came up with don mcghan when congress subpoenaed him, he didn't testify, there's now litigation but essentially there's an olc opinion. that's the legal counsel office of the justice department that tries to say these officials should have to respect the executive privilege. it's never been fully tested in the courts and so this is something if the congress -- i'm sorry, if the white house were to assert that privilege we could expect that to be another matter for litigation. coming up next we have someone with a unique perspective on this day's events. he ran the hillary clinton campaign in 2016, he ran the white house during the last impeachment by the president. john podesta is here next. o grow
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the last time a president was impeached the man serving as his chief of staff was john podesta whose name probably rings a bell. he would then work for president obama and quite famously chair hillary clinton's presidential run and have his inbox hacked by russian hackers who then leaked to wikileaks. john podesta joins me now. >> nice to be back with you, chris. >> i guess the first thing is do you support the president's impeachment? do you think the facts as we know them support an impeachment? >> well, i think they certainly support the impeachment inquiry. and i would say, yes, they support an impeachment. you know, he's really tried to almost blackmail a foreign leader to try to get them to interfere in our election. you know, the founding fathers really were concerned about this when they wrote the constitution
and included the clause for impeachment about foreign interference in u.s. elections. and i think once the house judiciary committee and house intelligence community dig into this, i think that's what they're going to find. we learn new facts every day. donald trump says he was trying to prevent corruption in ukraine. now we see the two indictments of rudy giuliani's sidekicks today. it looks like they were trying to foment corruption than fight it. >> i wonder what you made when you read those call notes of that phone call having been in on calls between a u.s. president and foreign head of state, did it strike you as horrifying as it apparently struck some people in the white house? >> yeah, i think it's houston we have a problem. clearly he's saying, you know, i'll get around to the meeting, i'll get around, i'm going to hold back the money that congress has appropriated, but
first i need a favor. and what's the favor? to investigate my principle opponent or a principle opponent in an upcoming election. asking them to directly interfere and intervene in the election. and i think that is an abuse of power and something that obviously the congress is going to need to look into. you know, nancy pelosi was reluctant to go down this path but i think once the whistle-blower complaint came out, i think she had no choice and i think the right thing to do is to investigate this and then render a judgment. whether he in fact abused his office. but i think the facts are pretty plain in that memorandum. >> you know, you worked in white houses and my wife was in the white house counsel's office in barack obama's administration. and those folks tend to be pretty -- they tend to take seriously the executive power and executive prerogative, right? they don't want congress to just be able to get their hands on anything that happens in the white house. as someone that comes from that
background, what do you make of the assertion that basically congress can't get anything? >> look, it goes against hundreds of years of constitutional history and a hundred years of constitutional jurisprudence where the supreme court has clearly recognized congress's power to investigate. it's an inherent power in the constitution. they've affirmed it again and again. the first cases of course were what was always thought of as the most corrupt administration in history, the harding administration. but i think trump may outdo that. but the supreme court has always recognized the power of congress to investigate. and that includes the power to engage in an impeachment inquiry. i think they've handled this seriously. they've tried to develop the factual basis for this. and all they've been met with is a giant stonewall and a laughable letter from the white
house counsel. >> you were the chief of staff during the last impeachment that happened with republicans in the house and president clinton in the white house. compare that experience and the context there to what we're seeing now. >> look, i think, you know, again, this was an exercise. it began with the starr investigation and went on and on and on. and ultimately resulted in the referral by mr. starr of his report to the house. the house voted articles of impeachment. they rejected a couple, they went to the senate. the senate ultimately heard the evidence. they conducted a trial, they listened to the president's lawyers. they concluded that while i think most people in the senate thought what the president had done was worthy of, you know, some scorn, that it was not an impeachable offense. he did not abuse the power and the office of the presidency. i think this is quite different.
and because this is the president using his office, using his power, using the instruments of government, trying to insert rudy giuliani into the direct, you know, instruments of u.s. foreign policy, to do what? to help himself personally, to help his campaign and to get a foreign government to directly interfere with the united states election. and i think they are quite different. and i think this is at the heart, again, of what the founders were worried about when we're a young nation. and they were worried about foreign interference, the big european powers exerting influence on the electoral process, on our president and other leaders of our government. and that's why they put this power to remove a president into the constitution. >> you're still associated with cap i know and today i'm talking to you as millions of folks 2
million i think in california have their power shutdown as pg&e the utility there prophylactically shuts it down to maybe avoid wildfires. is this like a cocktail of climate disaster in which delayed infrastructure investments meet rising temperatures? cap has a big climate plan you guys unveiled today. is this in the same category as a kind of green new deal we've heard about? >> i think the transformation of our economy that science is asking for dictating really is that we have to go from a very highly polluting energy system to what people refer to as net zero. we have to eliminate emissions, have to be able to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. that's an awesome task but also a great opportunity to put people to work, build new industries. what it's going to mean is for example all new vehicles by 2035 are going to have to be zero
emission. all new buildings and appliances are going to have to be run on electricity. all that electricity is going to have to be powered from zero carbon electricity and renewable resources and other means of getting zero carbon electricity. that's a lot of work, trillions of dollars of investments. it's an exciting opportunity. and i think, chris, really 30 years from now people may look back and judge donald trump's biggest crime as the fact that he's been on a rampage to send the country in the wrong direction, not deal with the existential threat to our planet and humanity. but i'm confident democrats are stepping up to this in the presidential campaign and we can get the job don. >> if you were chief of staff and you saw what was happening now, if you were donald trump's chief of staff, you saw the leaks and people coming forward, would you be nervous about where this is going? >> absolutely. first of all, you don't know what the facts are.
the indictments today was shocking because these are people who met with the president, who giuliani was using as a conduit to the ukrainian government, trying to steer contracts to trump friendly people in the united states. you don't know where that's going to end. you have rick perry over there trying to put trump-friendly people onto the ukrainian gas utility. you know, i think they've projected onto biden the kind of corruption they're engaged in themselves. >> thanks so much for making time. >> thanks, chris. ahead, as kurds flee the turkish assault in syria tonight there's growing outrage. one elected republican saying he'll no longer support donald trump's re-election. that story next. these folks don't have time to go to the post office
they use stamps.com all the services of the post office only cheaper get a 4-week trial plus postage and a digital scale go to stamps.com/tv and never go to the post office again. as the president continues to defend his decision to allow turkey to move into north eastern syria and attack america's allies the kurds, turkey continues to pound that area with air strikes. more than 60,000 civilians have been displaced so far. this has been going on now. but literally no one actually knows what that actually means including the turks. at home bipartisan condemnation continues to grow including retiring congressman who said in an interview with a local radio station he was quote shocked, embarrassed and angered by the
decision. he no longer supports the president's election. it's remarkable to me two things. both the sort of scale of human suffering we're seeing as people are fleeing this attack and the just unanimity of condemnation you see across the globe and political spectrum. >> and as you mentioned 60,000 people in the first 24 hours displaced from their homes. aid groups say that could go up to 300,000 if this escalation continues. there's no wonder they're saying deescalation needs to be the priority. there has been universal condemnation. it's been interesting to see republicans coming out and slamming trump from lindsey graham to an outgoing member of congress you just mentioned. call me cynical, but these are the same republicans who didn't turn on him when he was racist, when he was corrupt.
they didn't turn on him when he had a muslim ban on refugees coming in from syria. so i take that with a bit of grain of salt. but, yes, they clearly are very angry and they're making a lot of noises. and also interesting because the same republicans who are too scared to challenge trump on phone calls and corruption but they're not scared when it comes to trump doing something on foreign policy or foreign war they don't like. i always find that quite ironic. >> it's quite clear when lindsey graham is talking about a bipartisan sanctions bill, i think you're right we should all note that they can criticize trump, they can cross trump. they can go across him when they care about the issue. they clearly do care about this. they do care, it just shows what they do and do not care about. >> although you have lindsey graham on a phone call now -- i don't know if your viewers have seen the russian pranksters who got lindsey graham on the phone where he thinks he's talking to the turkish minister and he said oh, yeah they're a threat to you and we never
should have allied with the people protection units who are now under assault. so lindsey graham surprise surprise is saying one thing in public and one thing in private. so, yes, this is mess, chris. and it's a mess because that part of the world i don't just your viewers may quite get the contradictions and paradoxes involved here. in the last few days we've heard a lot of people say for example, the kurds, america's allies are being betrayed, and they are. but at the same time turkey is also an ally of nato and hosts 50 u.s. nuclear weapons on its soil. u.s. nuclear weapons. this idea of trump giving erdogan his blessings to invade syria and then you have iran and israel -- iran and israel together saying no, no, this is bad thing, this will lead to more problems. take another example, chris, you have anti-war lefties saying american soldiers shouldn't be on the ground in syria, it's illegal, there's no congressional approval for this, it's a good thing trump is winding down the war, but also
don't want to see kurds slaughtered as american forces pull out. there's a bunch of contradictions and paradoxes involved in every level of this mess. >> and lindsey graham talking out of both sides of his mouth on the phone is someone is going to have to pay the piper here at the end of this where these folks have battled and died against isis and we all knew turkey was going to move against them. there is the question how this decision happened. this is what's so remarkable. a single phone call to erdogan, no prep work, no staff work, literally gets him on the phone. you've got to wonder why is trump so ready to say yes to erdogan? >> indeed, and i'd like to see the call summary of that phone call to it go with the call to the ukrainian president. trump has a bunch of financial ties, surprise, surprise with turkey and in turkey.
he has a major conflict of interest here. and these are his words. in 2015 trump did an interview with steve bannon then of breitbart and said, i have a conflict of interest, i have a major, major building in istanbul. it's called trump towers. we know he's being paid millions of dollars in licensing fees. we know ivanka trump welcomed erdogan to the opening of trump towers in 2012. we know erdogan in 2016 got angry about the muslim ban and said trump's name should be removed from those towers until trump backed his crackdown after the failed coup. and we know michael flynn was being paid half a million dollars by a turkish company linked to erred doe -- erdogan to lobby in the u.s. these are major financial ties. yes, american policy has always been built on hypocrisy and contradictions and trying to get arms deals. but i can't think of a time in modern american history where the president himself could be benefitting from national security decisions.
coming up, a group of prominent conservative lawyers come out in favor of a speedy impeachment inquiry. i'm joined to talk about their decision ahead. ined to talk abor decision ahead cascade platinum. it's specially-designed with the soaking, scrubbing and rinsing built right in. cascade platinum's unique actionpacs dissolve quickly... ...to remove stuck-on food. . . for sparkling-clean dishes, the first time. choose the detergent that lets your dishwasher do the dishes! cascade platinum. the number one recommended brand in north america.
you remember when the big concern among democrats was whether impeachment would be terrible for democratic members of congress especially ones in competitive seats? well, with a plurality of most of the nation supporting impeachment, most democrats don't seem too worried. it's the republicans who were in 2020 like republican senator cory gardener of colorado tied into knots with the simplest of questions. >> do you believe it's appropriate the president of the united states to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival, yes or no? >> the senate intelligence committee is having a bipartisan investigation. unfortunately, though, what we've seen is a political process take over. i answered your question. >> no, you didn't. >> it's a yes or no. >> well, here's what we've seen
in the house of representatives. you see a very partisan process taking place. >> but the question is is it appropriate for a president -- >> we're going to have an investigation. it's a nonpartisan investigation. >> you don't need an investigation. you've got the call notes. it's really easy to answer. that was really bad. but iowa senator might have been even worse. >> is it appropriate for a president to ask a foreign power to investigate a domestic political rival, yes or no? >> again, i think we're going to have to go back just as i said last week we'll have to wait -- >> is it appropriate just the ask itself? >> again, we don't have all the facts in front of us. >> i'm asking is it appropriate for a president to ask a foreign power to investigate his domestic political rival, yes or no? >> again, i would say i don't know we have that information in front of us and i'll just stick with what i've said all along. >> why won't you answer the question? are you concerned about retribution? >> no, i am not. >> clearly, she is. they can't say that because it
will enrage the president and not enraging the president, well, that's also clearly on the mind of mike pence who's also trying desperately to escape further incrimination. >> were you ever aware, mr. vice president, interest in the bidens, the interest in investigating the bidens was at least part of the reason for aid to ukraine being held up? were you ever aware? >> i never discussed the issue of -- the issue of the bidens with president zelensky -- >> were you ever aware within the administration? >> what i can tell you is that all of our discussions internally, the president and my team and our office and ukraine were focused on the broader issues of the lack of european support -- >> but were you interested in the bidens being investigated and was that being tied to ukraine being held up? >> that's your question.
there's a lot of political analyst who say seem to take for granted the republican party and the base will stick by donald trump, but trump himself does not seem so sure. according to one report he's calling mitch mcconnell as much as three times a day, although a mcconnell spokesperson denied it. today he railed against fox news after the network released a poll showing majority support for impeachment and removal. trump generally just seems really nervous about his support buckling and he can't be pleased with a new statement from 16 libertarian lawyers who are now calling for an expeditious impeachment investigation, citing numerous facts that are undisputed. they write it has become clear to any observer of current events, the president is abusing the office of the presidency for personal, political objectives. i'm joined by harvard law professor charles freed, solicitor general under president ronald reagan, and jonathan adler.
law professor at case western reserve. professor, when did you come to believe that an impeachment inquiry should be launched against the president? >> let me back up one moment. i was born in a vibrant democracy, czechoslovakia and i fled because of a dictator who invaded it. i came to this country and it took us in. i've had a wonderful life here i love it as do my children and my grandchildren, and this man terrifies me. >> why? because of the way he thinks, what he says about himself. he says that the constitution said, and he said this to a bunch of high school students. i can do whatever i want. that's what article 2 says. well, it doesn't. any lawyer knows that.
any lawyer except maybe bill barr and mr. cippilone. everybody who studied the constitution which i teach knows that. our fidelity is to the law and to the office, not to a man. >> professor adler, the white house has to professor freed's points operationalized the president's broad view of executive authority, if you could even call it something that sophisticated. in its letter to congress and the idea that congress just has no right to do any of this, what they're conducting is a kangaroo court, what do you think of those assertions? >> the letter makes political arguments, not legal arguments. the point of the letter is to give people rhetoric and talking points. but as a legal matter, congress has the authority to do this. congress has the authority to not merely investigate the president, but the house has the authority to impeach the president.
there is enough undisputed material -- there are undisputed facts that alone establish that the president is not upholding his oath to preserve and protect the united states and to faithfully execute the laws of the united states. and ideally, we would have a bipartisan inquiry to figure out how deep the rot goes. but there is enough on the record that the question should be put forward do these acts rise to the level where the president should be removed. >> professor freed, you teach constitutional law. you were solicitor general under president reagan. there are people who use the term "constitutional crisis" and it's always hard to define precisely what that means. noah feldman wrote a piece recently the other day saying we are in one. do you see us as in a constitutional crisis at this moment? >> yes, because if the president succeeds in stonewalling the lawful, constitutionally
provided processes of the house of representatives, then something will have to be done. the various officials who will not testify because they have been told not to and they're scared of this thug will have to be sanctioned. they are in contempt. of course he is in contempt. >> what do you think, professor adler? >> well, i don't know if i'd use the phrase constitutional crisis. the house has enough information to act. it has the ability to inquire further. as we know in the case of richard nixon and watergate, if the white house refuses to cooperate, refuses to respond to lawful demands for information, then that itself can be a further ground for impeachment. we have the quid pro quo with ukraine and the volker texts and so on, we have enough material on the record that shows that this white house is not following the law, that this president is not upholding his
oath and that's something that the house should consider expeditiously. as your setup noted, senators should be in a position where they have to answer the question at what point does this justify removal from office? >> i would add the second -- i would add the second part of the mueller report, which quite dutifully can't say the president would be indicted from the department of justice because his instructions from the justice department said so but he said i will not exonerate him. that is in another place. and of course that's the congress. and bill barr lied about what that report said when he thought that we weren't going to see it. >> well, let me -- professor freed, you're sort of conservative legal legend, i think it's fair to say. you have had many students
throughout the years, you are extremely highly regarded. you have been part of american conservatism for a very long time. what are the conversations you have with people that you would consider, you know, for lack of a better word, fellow travelers about what is happening with this president and the rule of law? >> they are horrified. it is the very opposite of the great republicans, the great republicans like ronald reagan, like dwight -- can you imagine dwight eisenhower speaking the way this man speaks? or lincoln? or teddy roosevelt? this man is ignorant and foul mouthed. >> professor adler, what are your conversations like with fellow conservatives? i consider you a libertarian conservative lawyer in good standing in many ways.
you're active in -- no, you're active in contemporary stuff. you opposed some of the legal argumentation to justify obamacare. what are those conversations like for you? >> well, i mean i think in a lot of cases and one of the reasons we form checks and balances is there are a lot of folks who consider themselves legal conservatives because of their views about the rule of law, the nature of american government and the obligations the government has that are very uncomfortable not only with the way the president conducts himself but also with a number of people within the administration and within congress that enable the president. so part of creating checks and balances and issuing statements like this is to let those that feel this way know that they're not alone. certainly i have many conversations with conservative students, young members of the federalist society and the like, who have these concerns and who worry that being a legal conservative means exonerating
or enabling this conduct. and the point we're trying to make is that's just not so. >> charles fried, jonathan adler, thank you very much for your time. that is "all in" for this evening. tonight the floodgates open a bit wider as a white house insider plans to tell all she knows about the arms for dirt deal, including that phone call where the president asked for a favor. plus another scene out of the movies. two guys get arrested at the airport, try to skip the country on one-way tickets resulting in this mug shot. in real lives, they're connected to rudy giuliani. in the meantime, trump goes after the whistle-blower again. the democrats have now subpoenaed a cabinet member and think of it. all of these stories have to do with one thing, ukraine. the story that is now encircling the president as "the 11th hour" on a thursday night gets under way. >> well, good evening once aga